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What to do with all these grasses!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 31
Location: catalonia spain
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Grasses.. I think I must have almost every type of grass on the planet on my land.. And they just want to keep on growing!

Early spring last year I planted out about 40 various fruit trees out in one of my terraces.. It was last planted out to almonds, and before that to grape..

I haven't done anything to this terrace apart from cut the grass and weeds and leave them a top the soil for the last 20 years... now I'm wanting to plant more wild herbs/shrubs and trees (food forest style).
However, just from seeing how the fruit trees that were planted last year are faring (which is actually very well), I'm seeing that the grasses are a major concern, as in that they are so vigorous!

So, basically I'm asking what would be the best solution to get these grasses under more control.. I've tried really deep wood chips around the bases of the new fruit trees, and yes it does help some. It it jist a case of digging them out where I want to cultivate other plants? Put some chickens in there for a while? My sheep? (I would have to fence off every tree though!)

Thoughts, ideas please!

Cheers!
Marcus
 
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Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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We have very agressive grasses that spread by long runners as well as seed. The best strategy I've found for large area has been cardboard covered with mulch for a full year. After that I start cutting into the decomposing cardboard for planting like it's a weed fabric. I can do this earlier but then I have to keep ahead of the grass that pushes runners up through the same holes. Established perrenials that give thick ground cover seem able to hold there own as the grass attempts to push back in.

In annual areas it's a continual weeding struggle where I effective till the whole bed more than once a year, just from pulling out the buried runners. I'm starting a new strategy where I am planting perennial ground covers outside the bed in the hopes that, between the root mass below ground and the shade above, they will form a natural barrier to at least slow the grass. It will take a few years to determine if this will really work.   Right now I'm focusing on dividing and growing out more yarrow and wormwood for a full scale attempt.
 
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Posts: 5728
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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If you have any Bermuda in that mix, the runners are the main way these spread, they can choke out some plants if enough of the runners get around the base of the plants.
Most grasses, as Casie brought up, can be subdued by covering with something to smother them down and keep light off them for a full growing season.

Keep in mind that grasses actually do a good job of; sequestering carbon, holding soil in place and adding humus to the soil.
Unless you just have to have the grasses gone, you might just keep it trimmed short and use the cut blades as fresh mulch, that will put the nitrogen and other minerals held in those blades back into the soil.
 
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